Statin prevents chondrocyte aging and degeneration of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis (OA)

Aging (Albany NY). 2010 Dec;2(12):990-8. doi: 10.18632/aging.100213.


Recent reports have shown that statin (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) may have the potential to inhibit inflammatory arthritis. More recently, the idea that chondrocyte aging is closely associated with the progression of cartilage degeneration has been promulgated. Here, we demonstrate the potential of statin as protective agents against chondrocyte aging and degeneration of articular cartilage during the progression of osteoarthritis (OA), both in vitro and in vivo. The OA-related catabolic factor, IL-1β induced marked downregulation of cellular activity, expression of a senescent biomarker, specific senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity and shortening of the cellular lifespan in chondrocytes. In contrast, treatment with statin inhibited the IL-1β-induced production of cartilage matrix degrading .enzymes (metalloprotease-1 and -13) and cellular senescence in of chondrocytes in vitro. In addition, this statin accelerated the production of cartilage matrix proteoglycan in chondrocytes. The in vivo study was performed on the STR/OrtCrlj mouse, an experimental model which spontaneously develops an osteoarthritic process. In this mouse model, treatment with statin significantly reduced the degeneration of articular cartilage, while the control knee joints showed progressive cartilage degeneration over time. These findings suggest that statin may have the potential to prevent the catabolic stress-induced chondrocyte disability and aging observed in articular cartilage. Our results indicate that statin are potential therapeutic agents for protection of articular cartilage against the progression of OA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / drug effects*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects*
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Chondrocytes / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / prevention & control*
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Simvastatin
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • MMP13 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13
  • MMP1 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1